Ever left the car unlocked? Bad habits to blame for hiking up insurance costs

The survey found that more than half of Aussie drivers have left their car unlocked. Source: Getty.

More than half of Aussies could be to blame for price hikes when it comes to car insurance due to their bad habits on the road, a new study has found.

Poor driving practices, such as leaving the car unlocked, leaving valuables on display and driving with worn-down tyres, may all seem like fairly common errors, however they could also be the reason for rising premium costs or even leave drivers uninsured.

The survey, commissioned by Compare the Market, revealed that 54 per cent of drivers across Australia have left their car unlocked at least once, while 44 per cent have left the window open while their car was unattended and almost one third admitting to calling or texting behind the wheel.

A total of 1,000 drivers, with comprehensive insurance cover, took part in the study and were asked about a series of common driving mistakes which could leave them uninsured – or even endanger the lives of themselves and their passengers.

One in five confessed to driving with un-roadworthy tyres, while 27 per cent said they have left valuables, such as a handbag, phone or wallet, on show and 21 per cent admitted to leaving their keys inside the car after exiting the vehicle.

“These results should act as a wakeup call for motorists to adhere to these common car rules, both on and off the road, and not turn a blind eye to their personal safety or protection of their valuables either,” Rod Attrill, money expert at comparethemarket.com.au said.

“Drivers need to be diligent to understand what their motor vehicle insurance policy includes and if they may be at risk of not being covered or being hit with higher premiums due to their hazardous road behaviour.”

Read more: Ray Hadley’s powerful plea on drivers’ mobile use after string of horror crashes

Attrill also highlighted five other ways consumers could be left uninsured, or paying increased premiums:

  • Exceeding the kilometres driven. Many motorists opt to be considered as low kilometre drivers (if they drive 15,000 km or less annually) to potentially benefit from a cheaper insurance premium. If you select this policy, exceed the low kilometre threshold, and are then involved in an accident, this may affect your claim.
  • Keeping tight lipped on damage. When applying for a policy, no matter how minor the accident or damage, there is never a situation where you shouldn’t inform your insurer of any car incidents you have had. Failing to disclose this information may lead to your insurer not covering you.
  • Overloading your vehicle. You should think twice before over packing the car for a long trip too. Car manufacturers specify your maximum payload (the weight of your passengers, luggage etc.) you need to stay within when you’re piling up your car or trailer. If your passenger and storage weight exceeds the acceptable load capacity outlined by your manufacturer and State laws, you may find yourself without cover.
  • Not securing pets properly. Often your four-legged friends will be your most precious cargo when driving. Some providers will insure your pet travelling with you, if they are secured properly. In the event of an accident, not having the correct harness, carrier or cargo barrier will mean your policy may not cover you if you’re found driving with an unrestrained pet. Check whether your policy covers injuries to pets in the event of a car accident. Talk to your provider about what is and isn’t covered before driving with your pets in the vehicle.
  • Not notifying your insurer of a job change. Your insurer may factor your employment type, such as whether you work full or part time, to calculate your insurance premiums and potentially offer discounts based on your status. Make sure you notify your provider of any career change to ensure your policy is up to date and you’re receiving the most competitive price.

What are your thoughts on this story? Would you describe yourself as a careful driver?

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.

Join the community that will get you through the hard times ahead.

Starts at 60 is the community you need when Covid-19 is changing life as we know it. We stick together, help each other, share information and have a whole lot of fun online.

Join for interactive online events, expert advice, timely news, great deals and community conversation.

Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up